NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 3, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 3, 2021

The Avalanche take a 2-0 series lead over the Golden Knights, the Canadiens beat the Jets in their second-round series opener, the Sabres win the draft lottery, the Ted Lindsay Award finalists are announced, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Mikko Rantanen’s overtime power-play goal lifted the Colorado Avalanche to a 3-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights and a 2-0 lead in their second-round series. Brandon Saad and Tyson Jost also scored for Colorado while Alec Martinez and Reilly Smith replied for Vegas. Avalanche netminder Philipp Grubauer made 39 saves. Marc-Andre Fleury returned to the Golden Knights’ net after being the backup in Game 1.

Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vegas coach Peter DeBoer wasn’t happy with the officiating on the slashing call on Rielly Smith that led to Rantanen’s PP goal. “Just a soft call”, he said, going on to accuse the Avalanche players of embellishment throughout the game.

The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Winnipeg Jets 5-3 in Game 1 of their second-round series. Eric Staal had a goal and an assist while Carey Price made 27 saves for the win. Their victory, however, was overshadowed by a dangerous hit by Jets center Mark Scheifele on Habs center Jake Evans as the latter was scoring an empty net. Evans was stretchered from the ice while Scheifele received a major penalty for charging and a game misconduct.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was out of character for Scheifele, who has no history of supplemental discipline. He let his emotions get away with him and could face a suspension. Evans, meanwhile, was evaluated by the Canadiens’ medical staff. John Shannon reported he was back at the team hotel following the game, where he was described as doing fine, alert but shaken.

It should be noted that Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers protected the prone Evans during the ensuing scrum. He also called for additional medical attention for the fallen Hab. “In a situation like that, you don’t want anyone falling on top of him,” said Ehlers. “I was just trying to keep everyone away.”

Winnipeg center Paul Stastny missed this game with an undisclosed injury. Jets defenseman Dylan DeMelo left the game early in the first period with a lower-body injury.

The Buffalo Sabres won the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft Lottery yesterday. The expansion Seattle Kraken won the second-overall pick while the Anaheim Ducks will select third.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres could select University of Michigan defenseman Owen Power. He’s listed as this year’s top prospect by NHL Central Scouting.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, and Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid are the finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award.

TORONTO STAR: Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan defended his team’s top-four players during the club’s end-of-season press conference. He did, however, acknowledge the club lacked a “killer instinct” that must be addressed.

SPORTSNET: Leafs captain John Tavares said he’s doing “really well” in his recovery from the traumatic head injury suffered during Game 1 against the Canadiens. Tavares missed the rest of the series with a concussion and a knee injury. He said he has no memory of the incident and doesn’t intend to watch the replay.

TSN: Leafs winger Mitch Marner denied a report that he refused to play a goal-line role on the club’s power play. “It’s a complete lie,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t expect Marner, Tavares, Matthews or William Nylander to be traded this summer if Shanahan’s comments are anything to go by. However, that hasn’t stopped the speculation among the Toronto media. I’ll have more in today’s Rumor Mill.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck’s status for Game 3 tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning remains uncertain. He was still being evaluated yesterday following his ankle-to-ankle collision with teammate Warren Foegele in Game 2.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins winger Craig Smith could return to the lineup for Game 3 tonight against the New York Islanders. He missed Game 2 with a lower-body injury suffered during the previous game.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ron Hextall said he’d be comfortable returning with the same group of players next season. He defended beleaguered starting goaltender Tristan Jarry, lauded the coaching staff and expects core players like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang to return next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hextall and president of hockey ops Brian Burke intend to bring some size and toughness to the line next season. There will be some changes but those will likely involve their secondary players. They could also acquire an experienced backup as a mentor for Jarry.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers center Kevin Hayes underwent successful sports hernia surgery last week. His expected recovery period is five weeks.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 23, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 23, 2021

Golden Knights and Lightning take commanding series’ leads while Leafs and Islanders get big wins to tie their respective series. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Marc-Andre Fleury turned in a 35-save shutout as the Vegas Golden Knights blanked the Minnesota Wild 4-0 to take a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven opening-round series. Fleury moved into a tie with Curtis Joseph for third place among the all-time playoff shutouts leaders with 16. Nicolas Roy scored twice and Mark Stone tallied a shorthanded goal. The Golden Knights can wrap things up in Game 5 on Monday in Vegas.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An apparent game-tying goal by the Wild’s Joel Eriksson Ek was overturned on a coach’s challenge for goaltender interference. Eriksson Ek also had a goal overturned in Game 3 as offside on a coach’s challenge.

The Tampa Bay Lightning took a 3-1 lead in their series with a 6-2 win over the Florida Panthers. Nikita Kucherov and Alex Killorn each collected four points while Andrei Vasilevskiy kicked out 41 shots. Panthers’ netminder Sergei Bobrovsky was pulled after giving up five goals on 19 shots. Game 5 goes Monday in Sunrise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the worst-officiated game of these playoffs thus far. The Athletic’s Joe Smith pointed out this game took an ugly turn after Kucherov left the game with a leg injury from a slash by Panthers’ winger Anthony Duclair and teammate Mikhail Sergachev was shaken up following a blindside hit by Patric Hornqvist.

Smith also noted the game finished with 26 penalties and five misconducts, many of which stemmed from a brawl late in the third period. Lightning coach Jon Cooper struggled to keep his emotions in check talking about the officiating during the postgame press conference. No word following this game over the conditions of Kucherov and Sergachev.

Auston Matthews had a goal and two assists as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-1 to even their first-round series at a game apiece. William Nylander and Mitch Marner each had two points while Jack Campbell made 22 saves for his first-ever NHL playoff win. Jesperi Kotkaniemi replied for the Canadiens. The series shifts to Montreal for Game 3 on Monday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The first period was evenly matched but Toronto blew it open in the second as the Canadiens spent most of that frame on the penalty kill. The Leafs adjusted well to the Habs’ physical play while bringing their speed and offensive depth to bear.

The New York Islanders squared their series with the Pittsburgh Penguins at two games apiece with a 4-1 victory. Ilya Sorokin got the nod as the Islanders’ starting goalie over struggling Semyon Varlamov and turned aside 29 shots for the win. Isles winger Oliver Wahlstrom had a goal and an assist. The series returns to Pittsburgh on Monday for Game 5.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders are doing a fine job shutting down the Penguins’ top line. Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust each have just one point in this series. Meanwhile, a banged-up Evgeni Malkin has two assists in as many games but was also held off the score sheet in Game 4.

HEADLINES

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs general manager said team captain John Tavares suffered no structural damage to his head, face, neck or spine after being accidentally struck by the knee of Canadiens winger Corey Perry in Game 1. However, he has a concussion and also a sprained knee. He’ll be sidelined for at least two weeks.

TSN: Washington Capitals winger Anthony Mantha was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL department of player safety for goaltender interference against Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask during Game 4 of their first-round series.

The league also fined Carolina Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal $5,000.00 for a dangerous trip on Nashville Predators winger Luke Kunin during Game 3 of their first-round series.

STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues defensemen Justin Faulk and Robert Bortuzzo remain doubtful for Game 4 today against the Colorado Avalanche. Blueliner Vince Dunn’s status is also uncertain.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller will miss Game 5 today against the Washington Capitals. He was sidelined in Game 4 by a high hit to the head by Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers forward Kevin Hayes will reportedly undergo sports hernia surgery next week in Philadelphia. His recovery time is expected to be six weeks.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars promoted Rich Peverley to Director of Player Personnel. He’s served as their Player Development Coordinator for six years.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 7, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 7, 2020

Details of tentative CBA extension, more details on the return-to-play plan, an update on the league’s COVID-19 testing, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

KEY DETAILS FROM TENTATIVE CBA EXTENSION

NHL.COM: The NHL and NHLPA yesterday reached an agreement in principle on a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for a four-year extension to the collective bargaining agreement. The extension, as well as the protocols for Phases 3 and 4 of the return-to-play plan, are subject to ratification by the league board of governors and the PA membership later this week.

NHL and NHLPA reach a tentative agreement on a four-year CBA extension (Image via NHL.com).

Among the key details of the tentative CBA extension (as per TSN):

The agreement would expire on Sept. 15, 2026. It can be extended to 2027 if the escrow debts owed to the NHL team owners for 2019-20 exceed $125 million by the end of the deal,

The salary cap will be frozen at $81.5 million for 2020-21 and remain there until league revenue returns to $4.8 billion. After that, the cap will be determined by a new formula relying on actual hockey-related revenue (HRR) from two years ago and projected HRR for the immediately prior season,

An escrow cap will be implemented, with the players paying no more than 20 percent in 2020-21, 14 to 18 percent in 2021-22, 10 percent in 2022-23, and six percent annually for the final three seasons of the deal,

The players will defer 10 percent of their salary and signing bonuses for 2020-21, which will be returned to them in equal installments over each of the final three seasons of the agreement,

All front-loaded contracts will be limited to less than 50 percent variability between the highest and lowest compensation years,

No limits on signing bonuses,

The NHL will participate in the 2022 Beijing Olympics and the 2026 Milan Olympic pending negotiations with the IOC and IIHF,

The minimum salary will be $700k in 2020-21, rising to $750K for the next three seasons, $775K for 2024-25, and $800k in 2025-26.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: These points were previously reported and duly noted on this site. Nevertheless, I felt they were worth repeating now that there’s finally an MOU in place.

Some notable new ones include:

The salary cap recapture penalty will not exceed the player’s normal salary-cap hit, but it will take longer to pay it back.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Call this the Shea Weber rule. As TSN’s Frank Seravalli explained, if Weber retired before his contract expired in 2025-26, the Nashville Predators would’ve been tagged with a cap recapture of over $24 million for that season because of the way Weber’s actual salary was structured. Now, they’ll face a cap recapture penalty of $7.86 million, but it will take them three additional seasons to pay that back.

Players on contracts expiring after 2020-21 are eligible to sign contract extensions beginning in 2021-22 three days following the ratification of the CBA extension,

Players with expiring contracts on teams not participating in the upcoming playoff tournament and those who opt-out of the tournament are eligible to sign contracts outside North America. However, those who opt-out won’t be permitted to return for the 2020-21 NHL season. Those on the non-playoff clubs that sign outside North America would be eligible to return if offered a new contract,

Prospect players can sign entry-level contracts but will not be eligible to play in the upcoming playoff tournament. They will be eligible to join their teams next season and will be considered one year closer to free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That means Montreal Canadiens defenseman Alexander Romanov, Minnesota Wild forward Kirill Kaprizov, and New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin won’t be suiting up for their respective clubs in the playoff tournament.

NHL & NHLPA RELEASES PHASE 3 AND 4 RETURN-TO-PLAY DETAILS

NHL.COM: The league and the PA also released answers to key questions regarding the protocols for Phases 3 and 4 of their tentative return-to-play plan. As with the CBA extension, this plan is subject to ratification from the board of governors and PA membership.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Several of the key points were noted in yesterday’s morning coffee headlines.

THE NATIONAL POST: Michael Traikos reports Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, an infectious diseases physician based in Mississauga, was impressed with the NHL’s 47-page protocol list, especially those covering life in the two host cities of Edmonton and Toronto. “This plan could work. It is certainly a possibility,” he said. Chakrabarti doesn’t believe there’s any danger of the players spreading COVID-19 in those host cities. Once players are in the bubble there’s no getting out, plus there’s less chance of the virus getting in and infecting the players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No system is perfect and there’s always a risk of the coronavirus breaching that bubble. Nevertheless, the odds of that happening are considerably reduced because of the strict protocols for Phase 4.

Getting to Phase 4, however, will be a challenge. While the teams participating in the tournament will be under stricter protocols in Phase 3 than they currently are, they will still be traveling to and from their homes daily and interacting with members of the public, putting them at risk of contracting the virus. Speaking of which…

NHL.COM: The league provided their latest COVID-19 testing update, indicating nine more players have tested positive during Phase 2. Of over 2,900 tests of 396 players, 23 came back positive. That’s an increase of eight positives tests from players skating in Phase 2 protocols and one positive from a player outside that protocol. Those players have been in self-isolation and are following Health Canada and CDC guidelines.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Phase 3, which starts on July 13, will determine if the playoff tournament takes place. A big spike in tests over the next three weeks could postpone, delay, or cancel Phase 4.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Kevin Hayes is this season’s winner of the Gene Hart Memorial Award.

SPORTSNET: It’s unlikely Calgary Flames defenseman Juuso Valimaki will participate in the playoff tournament. He missed the entire season to a knee injury, but playing in the tournament would make him eligible for next year’s expansion draft.

TORONTO SUN: Former NHL player Eddie Shack has been in and out of hospital battling cancer for the past eight months.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shack is among the most popular personalities in hockey. I met him as a kid during the 1970s when he was doing promotional work for The Pop Shoppe and he couldn’t have been nicer. Many years later, he signed a stick for me at an NHL Oldtimers Game in Calgary. Here’s hoping “The Entertainer” pulls through.










Flyers Bandwagon A Welcoming Place as Philly Surges Up NHL Standings

Flyers Bandwagon A Welcoming Place as Philly Surges Up NHL Standings

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 26, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 26, 2020

Alex Ovechkin continues his march up the goal-scoring leaderboard, the Leafs rebound from an embarrassing defeat on Saturday, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 43rd goal of the season and the game-winner in a 4-3 shootout win over the Winnipeg Jets. Ovechkin now has 701 career goals, sitting seven behind Mark Gartner for seventh place among the all-time goal-scoring leaders. The Capitals (84 points) opened a two-point lead over the Penguins for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division. The Jets (70 points) are tied with the Nashville Predators, but the Preds hold the final Western Conference wild-card spot with three games in hand.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 43rd goal of the season in a 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets (Photo via NHL Images).

The Predators, meanwhile got third-period goals by Ryan Ellis and Viktor Arvidsson to down the Ottawa Senators 3-2.

After an embarrassing loss to an emergency backup goalie on Saturday, the Toronto Maple Leafs rebounded with a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Leafs captain John Tavares scored twice while Lightning captain Steven Stamkos left the game in the second period with an undisclosed injury. The Lightning (85 points) failed to gain ground on the Bruins, while the Leafs (74 points) hold third place in the Atlantic Division.

Mike Hoffman’s third-period goal proved the game-winner as the Florida Panthers squeaked past the Arizona Coyotes 2-1. The Panthers sit two points behind the Leafs in the Atlantic, while the Coyotes (70 points) sit just outside the Western playoff picture.

Sean Monahan and Mikael Backlund each scored two goals to lead the Calgary Flames over the Boston Bruins 5-2. Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask saw his personal points streak end at 20 games. The Bruins remain atop the league’s overall standings with 90 points, while the Flames (72 points) hold the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

The Vancouver Canucks edged the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 on an overtime goal by Tyler Toffoli. With 74 points, the Canucks move into second place in the Pacific Division, two points behind the Vegas Golden Knights.

An overtime goal by Mika Zibanejad lifted the New York Rangers over the New York Islanders 4-3. The Isles hold the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 77 points. The surging Rangers (72 points) have won four straight and eight of their last 10 games, sitting four behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the final Eastern wild-card berth.

Speaking of the Blue Jackets, they dropped a 5-4 decision to the Minnesota Wild. Mikko Koivu tallied twice for the Wild, who sit three points out of a Western Conference wild-card berth. The slumping Jackets have just one victory in their last 10 contests.

The Philadephia Flyers picked up their fourth straight victory and their seventh in his last 10, doubling up the San Jose Sharks 4-2. Kevin Hayes had a three-point performance, including two goals. The Flyers (79 points) hold third place in the Metropolitan Division, one point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The St. Louis Blues picked up their fifth straight victory with a four-goal third period to nip the Chicago Blackhawks 6-5. Zach Sanford tallied twice for the Blues (84 points), who sit atop the Central Division and Western Conference standings.

Dallas Stars winger Roope Hintz had a goal and two assists in a 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. With the win, the Stars (80 points) move one ahead of the Colorado Avalanche for second place in the Central Division. The Hurricanes (74 points) sit two points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot.

Sonny Milano scored twice (including the game-winner) in his debut with the Anaheim Ducks in a 4-3 overtime win over the Edmonton Oilers. New Oilers Andreas Athanasiou and Tyler Ennis each had a goal and an assist. The Oilers (74 points) sit third in the Pacific Division. Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm left the game in the second period after suffering an upper-body injury crashing into the corner boards. Before the game, the Oilers announced winger Kailer Yamamoto would miss two-to-three weeks with a sprained ankle.

Cory Schneider made 27 saves for his first win of the season as the New Jersey Devils defeated the Detroit Red Wings 4-1. Devils center Pavel Zacha collected two assists.










The Best and Worst NHL Trades of 2019

The Best and Worst NHL Trades of 2019